The $12.1 billion COVID-19 support package announced by the Minister of Finance in March 2020 included a $600 million initial aviation support package. Cabinet allocated up to $320m for the International Air Freight Capacity scheme to be administered by the Ministry of Transport. 

The flow-on effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic continue to impact international air movements and airfreight capacity.

The Government has agreed to extend the IAFC scheme until the end of March 2021. Existing support agreements with airlines and carriers are due to expire in November 2020. We are now inviting applications from airlines and carriers to participate in Phase 2 of the IAFC scheme, which runs from December 2020 to March 2021.

International Air Freight Capacity (IAFC) Scheme

The International Airfreight Capacity (IAFC) scheme supports air services to maintain trade links with global markets, to enable essential imports and for export cargo.

The scheme provides financial support for international airfreight carriers to guarantee air services on key routes.

The scheme launched in May with an initial schedule of 53 weekly flights from New Zealand to key destinations. In response to demand from the business community, the schedule has since grown to support 70 weekly flights as at the beginning of August. 

The IAFC scheme ensures key international trade links remain open for business at a time when border restrictions remain in place and passenger air travel is limited.

Airfreight connectivity is critical to maintain trade links with global markets, to enable essential imports such as medical supplies and PPE, and ensure exports reach global markets.

The scheme not only supports the international movement of air freight, but also ensures people can enter and leave New Zealand.

Successful applicants and routes for Phase 1 of the IAFC scheme are listed below. For more detail about these routes, contact your preferred freight forwarder.

Airlines and freight carriers currently receiving support from the IAFC scheme are: Air New Zealand, China Airlines, China Southern, Emirates, Freightways, Qantas and Tasman Cargo.

Provider Route Flights per week
China Airlines Auckland – Taipei – Auckland 4
Emirates  Dubai – Kuala Lumpur - Auckland - Brisbane - Dubai 3
Dubai – Sydney - Christchurch – Sydney - Dubai 1
Freightways  Auckland - Christchurch – Melbourne - Auckland 3
Auckland – Christchurch - Sydney - Auckland 1
Auckland – Sydney – Auckland 2
Tasman Cargo Auckland – Sydney – Auckland 1
Air New Zealand Auckland – Shanghai – Auckland 5
Auckland – Hong Kong – Auckland 4
Auckland – Narita – Auckland 2
Auckland – Incheon –Auckland 1
Auckland – Sydney – Auckland 7
Auckland – Melbourne – Auckland 9
Auckland – Brisbane – Auckland 4
Auckland – Los Angeles – Auckland 10
Auckland – San Francisco – Auckland 4
Auckland – Rarotonga – Auckland 1
Auckland – Nadi – Auckland 1
Auckland – Apia – Auckland 1
Auckland – Tonga – Auckland 1
Auckland – Niue – Auckland 1
Qantas Christchurch – Sydney – Christchurch 2
China Southern Auckland – Quangzhou – Auckland 2
Total     70

IAFC Scheme Phase 2

For Phase 2 of the IAFC scheme, proposals were sought from airlines with the capability to operate air services to and from New Zealand. Recognising that the first procurement round was done at a challenging time for the aviation sector in April 2020, and delivered to accelerated timeframes, we ran a second RFP process. 

The new IAFC RFP was launched on 30 September and closed 5pm, 28 October.

All proposals submitted are now being evaluated. Following a shortlisting process and support agreement negotiations, new IAFC contracts are expected to take effect when the current IAFC support agreements expire at the end of November.

Please email if you have any questions about the scheme.

Essential Transport Connectivity (ETC) Scheme 

Maintaining a network that delivers effective regional connectivity is vital for New Zealand's social and economic wellbeing, and is critical for the COVID-19 recovery.

The Essential Transport Connectivity (ETC) scheme provides support for transport providers over the short to medium term. The goal of the ETC scheme is to ensure capacity, regional connectivity and essential services are maintained in the wake of COVID-19.

Applications for ETC funding support are considered on a case by case basis. At a high level, applicants are expected to meet the following:

  • Have exhausted all other sources of funding support (including Government’s COVID-19 Economic Response Package, bank loans, support from shareholders etc.).
  • Taken all available and reasonable operational and commercial measures to ride-out the impact of COVID-19 and/or right-size.
  • Requirements for one of the categories in the table below (airports/airlines, aviation support services, non-aviation services).

Airports and airlines

Be able to show they support regional connectivity and are key to the recovery of domestic and/or international aviation.

Aviation support services

Be able to show they are essential to the aviation sector and that without it, the operation and recovery of the aviation system would be significantly impeded.

Non-aviation services

Meet at least one of the following:

  • support economic activity, including maintaining the core transport network and/or critical supply chain
  • support inclusive access including enabling all people to access social and economic opportunities
  • the service is critical for emergency and resilience purposes.

As well as both of the following:

  • No substitutable service now or in the short term
  • If the service fails, there is low probability of a market resolution within a reasonable timeframe

Generally, taxi companies, rental car companies, tourism operators, and aviation operators who do not run scheduled services will not be eligible. Tourism operators may be eligible for MBIE’s tourism recovery package(external link).

More information

For more information, including to request details on the application process and/or a copy of the application form, email